Wednesday, September 27, 2006
Making the Best of a Bad Day!
Well, I guess I did have more to blog about from the past few days than I realized. I guess I just haven't had the time to sit down and blog!

This past Sunday Clark and I were supposed to perform some interpretive movements at an English Speaking church service on the otherside of the island. The pastor had even advertised the event in the newspaper. So, our family dressed up in our Sunday Best (which in Korea doesn't happen often) and headed out the door to drive over the mountain Sunday. As we got to the van we found a flat tire! This exact same tire has been flat 7 times in the past 2 months. We are beginning to think someone is sticking things in it...but that is a whole different story that I will save for another day or just not worry about bogging you down with. ANYWAY, the tire wasn't completely flat but heading that way fast. So, dh sent us upstairs and he drove around town to find a car shop open on Sunday morning...yeah right! Of course it was not to be found, so he got out and looked for the spare. Well, our BIG 9 passenger van that we have nicknamed Big Daddy Cool, would not make a 45 minute drive over a large mountain on that little donut tire. SO, we had to call and cancel.

We were all very disappointed. We were sitting at home eating our cup o' noodles for lunch (since I hadn't prepared anything else...we were supposed to be eating at the church). We were all dressed up with no where to go. SO, we decided to take a family Sunday stroll through the city. We walked well over 2 miles. We ended up buying both of the girls new tenis shoes. Clark bought me a new tea cup. We walked through the traditional market. We stopped and played in the park and took some GREAT family pictures. We came home and had a wonderful time of family worship. Then we ordered Japanese for dinner, put a movie in th DVD player and cuddled up together as a family and enjoyed a relaxing day at home. It truly was a bad day turned awesome! Aren't those the best?

Since I have been in the picture sharing mode...here are some pictures that were taken out and about today...also 2 family pictures taken Saturday night at a team dinner.



  

  

  

  




  

  

  

  




  

  

  

  posted at 6:32 AM
  Comments (2)


First Hair Cut
On Saturday I FINALLY gave in and took the baby in for her very first hair cut! She had perfected the fine art of taking her hand and brushing the hair out of her eyes, so I figured she really did need one! LOL! It felt like such a BIG girl thing to take my baby to do though! She was SOO good though. She sat up on the booster seat like a big girl. She didn't fuss or fight at all. She looked straight ahead and didn't move. It took about six snips or so and she had a nice straight line of bangs. In my very best Korean (which isn't so good) I made sure that they didn't touch a single one of the cute curls in the back. Of course it came out more as "only front, straight line, no back" LOL! To make it EVEN better, our favorite hair dresser, who even has the girls pictures hanging in her shop gave the hair cut to us as service...which is the Korean way of saying FREE! Since it was her FIRST it was FREE...can't get any better than that now can we? Anyway, here are some pictures of the BIG event...isn't she just the most precious thing???

***Click on the pictures to make them bigger...sorry they are backwards in order...I uploaded them the wrong way onto Photobucket***



  

  

  

  




  

  

  

  posted at 6:13 AM
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Back in the Swing of Things
I am happy to say that after a month or so of being out of my normal routine, I am finally back! Since we started school back up, I hadn't gotten back into my normal routine of getting up in time to have a quiet time, exercise, and get school ready before the girls woke up.

Today, I MADE myself do it and I feel SOOO much better for it (not to mention SORE)! I jumped back into my body resistance training and was SHOCKED that I was able to pull off the advanced level workout! YAHOOOO! I was SO glad that I hadn't lost too much strength or endurance! I did 50 full body crunches, 250 Hindu Squats, 30 Hindu Pushups (I want to get back up to 50 of these soon), 50 Butt Raisers, and 2 minutes of a gymnastics bridge. Tomorrow I will add a 3 minute wall sit to the end of it.

Now, I am off to help my husband clean up the kitchen, get the girls ready for bed, and do my ab work out before I go to sleep! It is SO amazing how I spent a whole month putting off something that makes me feel SOOO much better! It is good to finally be back in the swing of things! :-)

  posted at 6:05 AM
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A Small World!
I am sorry, I have had another one of those weeks where I just can't think of what to write about. Not to mention that we have been trying to get an extra day of schooling in so that we can take Friday, Saturday, and Sunday off this weekend...AND we have finally done it. We have one more day of schooling tomorrow and then a 3 day weekend! I hope to get back on here and post my next post on my Korean Series tomorow. But today, I have to share a fun story of something that just happened!

A dear friend of mine that I unfortunately lost touch with and haven't seen in years found me! You see, a friend of hers was reading the blog of another friend. She randomly pressed the "next" button at the top of the blog and stumbled about yours truly. She decided to read it when she saw I was from FL. She soon realized I had worked at FL GA/Acteen Camp and decided to send my blog to my old friend (a former FL GA/Camp Staffer as well) to see if we knew each other...and sure enough we did! We are now having a happy reunion via e-mail. Did you follow all of that? A little confussing I know!

What a sweet blessing it was today! Who knew that my little ole place on the internet would bring me back together with a dear friend that I hated loosing touch with! God is SO good! :-)

  posted at 5:46 AM
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Friday, September 22, 2006
Korea: First Impressions
We flew into Pusan Korea in late January of 2003. We had just left the relatively warm and sunny Orlando, Florida to be welcomed by the wet and cold Korea! We had been traveling for a full 26 hours. We had made it through customs and immigration, gathered all TWELVE of our trunks and suit cases, and headed out to find our team leader, Debbie. We saw her when her eyes bugged questioning what she had gotten herself into. How in the world was she going to get us and all of our stuff to our apartment in that one Starex van?

She pulled the van around to the pick-up area while we frantically hunted through the suite cases and trunks for coats, gloves, hats, and scarves. With chattering teeth us very warm blooded Southerners loaded the van and piled in. Now, it was our turn to be bug eyed! Debbie drove us through the narrow, crowded streets of Pusan. Every building was covered in Hangul (korean characters) signs that were blinking, flashing and glowing! There were hundreds of people walking down the side walks and driving along side us. It reminded me of the one time I had been to New York City, except I wasn't able to read a single sign. We road with mouths hanging open for 45 minutes. All I could think was "THIS is my new home!" and "God, are you SURE you called me HERE?"

We arrived at the Pusan Guest apartment, our new home for the next 4 weeks. We were greeted by the smell of fresh made popcorn and the smiling faces of 2 more missionaries from the area. They watched our daughter, who at the time was only 3 1/2 years old, while we unloaded our luggage and got settled in. We visited for a short time and then they left us for the night with a list of their phone numbers in case we needed anything. It was about 10:30 pm when we were alone for the first time in Korea. You would think we would collapse at this point, but we were all WIDE awake so we unpacked and settled.

I think we all finally went to bed at about 12:30 am but I am not 100% sure! Unfortunately sleep did not last too long. Jet lag got the best of us and at 4 am we were all wide awake with a movie playing on the computer. By 7 am we had all had showers, gotten dressed, eaten breakfast and were wondering what we should do next! Then we had the first of MANY big shocks! A voice from the ceiling began speaking to us in Korean at 7:30. I admit, I SCREAMED "CLARK WHAT DID YOU TOUCH!" He came running around the corner with hands in the air like I just pointed a gun at him! LOL! We searched the apartment trying to figure out what in the world we had done wrong to get this voice going on and on at us from the ceiling! After about 5 minutes he stopped and we decided we would just be careful and not push any buttons in the apartment again. At 8:00 am the voice started again. This time I was SURE Clark had pressed some button and we were getting in trouble. SO, I called Debbie and asked what I should do and she gave us our first lesson in Korean culture. Apartment complexes have a guard/mantainence man who makes announcements about anything and everything that goes on. It could be that someone Left their lights on, it could be that someone needs to move their car, it could be that the men are coming to spray for bugs or clean the windows. It is simply an announcement! WHEW...that put my mind at ease! We have since gotten used to these announcements and now use them to practice our language to see if we can guess the announcement before we call a friend in the complex to explain it to us! LOL!

Not too much longer and we got our second lesson. We kept hearing a sound coming from outside. It sounded like a chanting of some sort. We had NO idea what it was but soon discovered it was the fruit truck driving through the neighborhood with a speaker on his roof announcing the specials of the day. We bought the most delicious bowl of strawberries from him and headed back for a nice snack before venturing out in the city for the first time.

While we enjoyed our bowl of strawberries we received a dozen phone calls. All the missionaries in the city called to welcome us and introduce themselves. We also received phone calls from all the leadership up in Seoul to welcome us as well. They were SO wonderful to make us feel like we were at home!

Feeling more at home and relaxed we headed out into the city. My very first impression of Korea, that has not changed in 4 years, is that Korea is an amazing mix of old and new. There are grandmothers sitting on blankets selling fruits and veggies right in front of sky scrapers that have name brand clothing and modern electronics for sell in them. You will see a grandfather pulling a cart filled with logs walking down a 4 lane road with cars and trucks of all sizes zooming past him. You will she Shaman Priest in traditional costume walking down the street chanting in front of a PC Room. Between the huge 20 to 24 floor apartments you will see homes with traditional thatched roofs or flat roofs with kimchi and laundry on top. In America I have never seen old tradition mixed so much with modern technology. It still fascinates me to this day! Korea is truly unique!

During our walk I immediately learned an important lesson about Korean driving. Scooters/mopeds have NO boundaries! They drive on the road with cars, inbetween cars, on the wrong side of the road, AND on the sidewalks. They go as fast or as slow as they want. They have NO laws! I must have snatched the Bug up seconds before she got ran over 10 times during that first walk! We walked for about an hour and half just taking in all the sights of our new home.

Debbie met us back at our apartment for some time to visit and then dinner. Our very first meal out in Korea was PIZZA HUT! LOL! But that also was a unique experience. Debbie asked us if we wanted salad and we both agreed that would be nice. The waitress brought us one bowl and Debbie took it to the salad bar and filled it up. Brought it back with 4 forks and we all ate from the same salad bowl. It was the first of many, MANY times that I would eat out of a community bowl in Korea. In fact, I am so used to eating out of a community bowl now that I often feel it a waist of clean dishes to get one for everyone...LOL! Boy, have I changed a lot in 4 years! I must admit, I was SO uncomfortable that evening eating out of the same bowl as everyone else that I can't even describe it! But, when the pizza came and I had that first taste of home, I forgot all about the salad and enjoyed the taste of cheese and tomato sauce from home! LOL!

We visited with Debbie, talked about our first day of life in Korea, asked questions and had a wonderful evening. Debbie gave us the most wonderful gift she could have by setting us up with a dial up internet connection and a phone card to call home! Hearing the sweet voices of family members that night made us seem a lot closer to home even though we were on the other side of the world! We made ourselves stay awake until 8:00 pm and then we all collapsed for our second night of sleep in Korea! And that is what my first 24 hours of life in Korea were like. What my very first impression of Korea was. I will never forget those first 24 hours.

  posted at 3:49 AM
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Wednesday, September 20, 2006
More of the Circus!
After re-reading that last post it makes my 7 year olds comment seem very rude. I promise it was in no way said in a rude way but in a very comical, breaking the tension, perfect timing, kind of way. We were very thankful for her comment because we all needed a laugh and we had NO idea she was THAT quick witted!

Well, if that was enough circus show for one day, this will surely top it off. As we were preparing to cook dinner I realized we needed some plain yogurt for ther recipe. SO, off to the kahge (Korean convient store) we went. It took a few tries but we finally found it at Family Mart. On the walk home my 7 year old (we will call her by her nickname: bug) carried the yogurt for me but had butter fingers. She must have dropped it 10 times...once it even rolled into the street and almost got run over. It became quite the joke on our walk home.

We were still in a giggly kind of mood as we prepared to cook dinner. Bug, trying to get a rise out of her Daddy, joked that Mommy was more fun with yogurt. Daddy then grabs the yogurt, gets a big spoon full and SMEARS it down Bugs face then takes his hand and rubs it in her hair. That was it. It turned into a FULL out yogurt war between the two of them. Yogurt was ALL over the kitchen! The baby sat eating yogurt and making a mess all of her own while Mommy grabbed the camera and snapped away!

It finally all calmed down. Daddy decided to finish dinner while I bathed the girls (a little earlier than usual. As the bath proceeded we hear a laugh from the kitchen and "SO, BUG...WHO is MORE fun with yogurt?"

LOL...such is life in the cirus!



  

  

  

  




  

  

  

  




  

  posted at 5:30 PM
  Comments (1)


My 3 Ring Circus
My husband has begun to call our family a 3 ring circus and I have to agree. Here is an actual coversation that took place this morning.

7 yr. old: I am tired of boiled eggs! I want something NEW for breakfast! I want something FUN!

1 yr old: WAAAAHHH!!! (with grunts and points in between).

Dear Husband: We have a meeting this morning and boiled eggs are the easiest. Just hang in there one more morning of boiled eggs, I promise something different tomorrow!

7 yr. old: But Daaaaad...PUULLLEEEEEASE????

1 yr. old: WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!! (more pointing, grunting and now tugging at the leg).

Dear Husband: It is only 8:00 and my nerves are RAW!

7 yr old: Then put THEM on the frying pan!

ME: ROFL so hard I am crying!

Welcome to our Three Ring Circus!

  posted at 9:23 AM
  Comments (2)


Tuesday, September 19, 2006
The Face of Jeju
To start off my posts on life in Korea, I couldn't think of a better way than to start than to post WHY I am here. I am here because of the people. I am here because there are many who do not know the truth! I am here because my Savior sent me here so that ALL may know Him!

When we first moved to Korea, we lived in a city called Yangsan. It was located right outside the second largest city of Korea, Pusan. We lived there and worked with young families for 2 years. A huge part of my heart is still in Yangsan and will always be there. I consider Yangsan my Korean home. I don't think I could ever feel as comfortable in a city as I did in that city. Some of my best friends are there and if God opened the door an called me back I wouldn't hesitate to go.

However, 2 years ago, he opened up the door to come to Jeju. A small island off the coast of Korea. We left Yangsan with many tears and the promise of many visits, phone calls and e-mails. When we arrived on Jeju I immediately felt a difference. Jeju is Satan's stronghold on Korea. It is the only place left in Korea with only 2 to 5 percent of the population believers in Jesus. Many here have never even heard the name of Jesus. It is so different from the mainland. We are now working with Blue Collar Workers and they too have developed a home in my heart. When you see their faces you will understand why.

A few weeks ago we had a volunteer come and photograph the island. Ruth did an amazing job capturing the people of Jeju. So, without further ramblings from me here is the reason we are here, the face of Jeju:


***click on the pictures to make them larger***





  

  

  

  




  

  

  

  




  

  

  posted at 6:20 PM
  Comments (2)


Something New
I have been thinking about this for a few weeks now, and I am going to do something new. I started this blog after I had already been living in Korea for 3 years. At that point the culture was an every day part of life. The "honeymoon" phase of being here had long worn off and I was into the ho hum of daily life. Well, I am now preparing to move back to America in 2 months and I realized I have posted very little about the unique parts of life in Korea. So, I am going to do a series. I have no idea how long it will go or what all it will contain, but what I do know that it will be all about Korean culture and living in that culture. I am also sure there will be LOTS of pictures. SO, if anyone has any questions about Korea or different aspects of life here please ask away because I am not sure where I am going with this.

  posted at 12:51 AM
  Comments (3)


Monday, September 18, 2006
Happy Day!
Today was a VERY happy day in my house! It was an ordinary kind of day and nothing big was planned. My sweet husband made phone calls to all of his students at the University, checking in with them and getting things set up for his class on Saturday. Then, he did a BIG job for me. he tackked the last spot of mildew that we were battling from rainy season. It was GROSS and he dove in and got rid of it. About half way through the job he called me in the sweetest of voices...I KNEW something was up!

As I walked into the mildew area Clark was standing with the BIGGEST grin on his face and hiding something behind his back! He pulled out a folder, but not just ANY old folder...it was a folder that has been MIA for TWO years!

We moved to Jeju (the island we live on) from the mainland city of Yangsan 2 years ago. As we prepared for the move I took all of our professional family photographs out of their protective frames and put them in this one folder for safe keeping. We are talking about FORTY family pictures! I searched the apartment high and low after the movers left and never found this folder. I shed quite a few tears and then finally gave up! I can't tell you how sad I was when I thought it had been lost for good.

That sadness is nothing in comparision to the excitment and happiness I felt when my wonderful, loving, sweet husband pulled that folder out from behind his back today! I spent an hour sorting through the pictures and taking in every moment that was captured and had hung in our house before we moved! THEN, I scanned each of these pictures and have them saved on the hard drive, on a cd, and on kodak photo gallery in case they happen to get lost in our move back to America in 2 months!

I truly count this as a blessing straight from God today. It was like He reached down and gave me a BIG hug by putting those memories back in my hand! God is GOOD!!

  posted at 6:54 AM
  Comments (1)


Saturday, September 16, 2006
Extra, Extra Read All About It!!
Susie at BlueBirdBlogs is having a contest to give away 2 free blog designs. She has great prices and I have been debating getting her to design one for me for a few weeks now. When I went over to check out her work, I was SO excited to see this contest. You should go check it out!!

  posted at 8:12 AM
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Friday, September 15, 2006
Green Tea, Sweatshirts, and Other Ramblings
Yah know, it has been one of those weeks where I just haven't had much to say. But, I figured I ought to post something this week. SO...here it goes...I am just going to ramble my way through it. :-)

Fall is truly in the air now. For the past 2 to 3 weeks it went from unbearably hot with every fan in the apartment running to what it is today. There is a nice crisp coolness to the air that is announcing the arrival of fall! This week I started my favorite fall and winter tradition. My morning cup of green tea. I am not a coffee drinker. My husband is and I love the smell of it but just can't get past the taste. I am also not a big fan of hot chocolate...I know, I know...something is wrong with me. However, 4 years ago when we moved to Korea, I fell in love with green tea. There is something special about holding that warm mug in my hands while sitting under my favorite blanket and reading God's word. I can feel the warmth run through me with each sip. It is the only time the whole house is quiet. I watch as the sun comes up out the window. I take in the message God has for me to guide me through another day. I slowly sip the delicious warm tea. It is my favorite time of the day!

Today I also remembered another favorite of fall and winter...sweat shirts! As I sat in the school room teaching my sweet girl how to find half of a number I got chills and they just didn't go away. So, for the first time of the season, I went up to the top of my closet and pulled out my favorite sweat shirt. The soft warmth of a sweat shirt is great! I just love being comfortable and you can't get more comfortable than these! Summer is by far my favorite season, but it is so refreshing to feel the cool breeze and then get to bundle up! Welcome Fall!

Unfortunately fall also brings in sinus problems for me! YUCK! I have woken up every morning this week with a sinus headache. Maybe that is why I haven't been able to think of anything to write! Tylenol Sinus is once again my best friend throughout fall. Again I say, WELCOME FALL!

We had a volunteer come from the States this week along with 2 of our missionaries from Seoul. It was a special time to sit and visit with them. The volunteer is actually a professional photographer! If you are in SC and looking for a photographer go to www.rackleyphotography.com (she does a great job). She left us with a CD FULL of pictures! I have been having the best time looking at them. I am still looking through them all but hope to do a post of Korean Faces that she took soon. They are SO beautiful, she captured so much in each face. I watched her take pictures and listened to her talk. From listening to her, I am finally getting the nerve up to take my camera off the "dumb" mode and start playing with the settings and see what I can do! I know I will make lots of mistakes, but I am looking forward to trying new things...I know it is the only way I will improve!

Well, I guess that is it for today. Could this post be more random? Yeah, probably, but that is ok. I will end for now. Hopefully I will get back on here before another week passes!

  posted at 1:44 AM
  Comments (1)


Friday, September 08, 2006
A Beautiful Sight! :-)
I just posted about our UNschooling day...but that was not the end of the day. Most days I am wiped out by the time my sweet husband gets home, but today I was still full of energy and he had remembered that we were in desperate need of groceries (see my UNschooling post about ordering pizza with change) and had more groceries than I knew what to do with.

This started an impromptu project! I took EVERYTHING out of the fridge and scrubbed all the shelves, threw away anything we haven't used in 3 months and organized all the new stuff! It looked SO good, I just knew I had to take pictures and blog about it! I haven't cleaned out the fridge like this in 6 months to a year!! Isn't it amazing how something as small as a freshly cleaned and organized fridge can just make everything seem a little better! LOL! OK...they don't call me Monica from friends for nothing! Anyway...here are some after pictures...I am just SO proud! I only wish I would have thought to have taken before pictures and you would see why I am SO happy!

(OH YEAH...and please take note of how much HEALTHIER our fridge looks...we still have a few remaining sodas that come for free when we order pizza, and some icing left over from birthdays...but the rest shows that we are making GREAT strides in reaching our more vegan style goals)!!!



  

  

  

  





The clean fridge inspired me to continue and clean out all of the top cupboards. I took out all the baby bottles (that NEVER got used) and wiped under all the coffee cups, bowls, plates, and tea and juice cups! I organized all the snack foods and the canned/boxed goods! Everything but the pots/pans and rubber maid cupboards are clean (and I am doing those in the morning)! My kitchen looks like it did when we first moved in 2 years ago! It is SOOO nice!

It may not seem like a lot, but it feels like a BIG accomplishment after spending the past 3 days resting to get over this yucky mastitis! I am SO happy to be back in motion again! AND, I must say from these two LAST pictures, I can tell my girls have had a FUN but LOONG day! :-)



  

  

  

  posted at 6:54 AM
  Comments (4)


An Unschooling Kind of Day
I am a classroom teacher and making the move to homeschool wasn't much different. I have always been very structured when it came to the school days. It is just what I am used to and comfortable with. However, this week has been one of recovering from mastitis and not doing much at all. I was feeling MUCH better this morning, but still not crazy about doing a structured day of school. SO, we had our most fun day of school yet and I don't even think my little second grader realized she was learning!

We started out by making blueberry muffins and banana nut muffins. We measured, mixed, heated the oven and got GREAT math skills in...not to mention a wonderful surprise for Daddy when he came out to grab a bite before he had to head to the University to teach! We all enjoyed a yummy breakfast of muffins and fruit together! What a fun start to the day!



  

  

  

  




  

  

  

  





Next we read books for fun. My girl read 5 chapters of Pony Pals in one sitting! She was a reading fool! We also read all kinds of other fun books! Who knew phonics and reading could be so much fun!

Then, I gave her some free time. She went into her playroom and created a circus out of her toys! To top it all off, she hand wrote invitations to me and her Daddy...does anyone else see her writing lesson for the day? And I didn't even have to assign it! LOL! It was SO creative and I couldn't have been more proud!!

Lunch time was upon us and I realized that I haven't gone shopping this week and we were out of EVERYTHING! Then I realized that when Clark left, he took all the money to go pay bills! YIKES! SO, we hit the fish bowl...where the spare change goes...and counted out 24,000 won (almost $25) in change! Talk about a math lesson on it's own! I was able to order a pizza that filled our tummies and tasted GREAT!

Next I took out a project that I have had waiting on the shelves for a LONG time (over 6 months). I pulled out some oil paints and white horses and let her paint her own horse! She did an amazing job! She took her time, paid attention to every little detail and made a BEAUTIFUL horse! She couldn't wait for Daddy to get home and see them. We even left the paint on the table so that when Daddy got home they could do one more together (they are our artist in residence)! Just see for yourself how good she did:



  

  

  

  




  


We all needed a break to our craziness today, so I allowed the girls some TV time. They watched Clifford on the Disney Channel and then the baby lost interest. My oldest girl put in Swan Lake and me and the baby had some computer time (she played in my lap with anything she could reach on the desk and I caught up on my blog reading).

After movie time, we had one last adventure before Daddy came home. I pulled out the sticker maker and we made underwater stickers and talked about different animals that live under water. We also created the coolest little underwater collage on the girls bedroom wall! LOL! Daddy came home as we were cleaning up our fishy mess.



  

  


It taught me that we can learn a lot and never sit down in the school room or open a book. The teacher in me learned a BIG lesson. I know we will be back to the structure I am comfortable with on Monday morning, but I am going to plan some more of these UNschooling days into our schedule for sure!! They are just TOO much fun!

  posted at 6:02 AM
  Comments (1)


About Me

Name:
Michelle


I am a working wife and mom who also homeschools. I am blessed beyond measure with a loving husband and two awesome little girls. I am a child of God and live to serve Him. I will be sharing about the adventures He takes me and my precious little family on! :-)

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